Can you actually boost your immune system? Here’s the truth

5 min Source: TED Talk
PME Level: All levels #health

BLUF

We often think about the immune system as a muscle we can strengthen by feeding it antioxidants and supplements—but that's not how the immune system works.

Summary

Our immune system is what protects us from bacteriaviruses and toxins. It also plays an integral part in wound healing. It's understandable why so many people take vitamin supplements to boost their immune systems. The problem is that the immune system is not a muscle we can strengthen by feeding it antioxidants and supplements. While the immune system can be suppressed—for example, through chemotherapy—the reverse doesn't happen. Think of the immune system in broad terms—innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity is our first line of protection, and it helps fight off pathogens before they cause a problem. If a pathogen does manage to get past the first line of defence, we have adaptive immunity, which responds to antigens. Things can certainly go wrong with our immune system, but an immune-boosting miracle pill won't solve them. TED Talk transcript available here.